Jaipur, July 8: Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje was on Wednesday at the centre of a fresh controversy over reports suggesting that she had recommended former IPL chief Lalit Modi for a Padma award in 2007.
While the CM's press advisor refused to comment on media reports, Rajasthan Sports Minister Gajendra Singh said, "I do not have any idea about it" on being asked whether Raje had sent such a recommendation.
Raje had reportedly forwarded Lalit Modi's name to the state's sports council citing grounds of his vast business empire and his contributions in development of cricket in the state.
When contacted, Subhash Joshi, who was then Honorary Secretary to the Rajasthan Cricket Association(RCA) told PTI, "Rajasthan State Sports Council's (RSSC) Secretary had sent us a letter for submitting Padma award proposal of Lalit Modi as he was RCA President and BCCI Vice President on July 27, 2007."
"RSSC had sent a letter seeking the details and papers of Lalit Modi (LaMo) from RCA", Joshi said. "RSSC had forwarded LaMo's proposal to Principal Secretary of Youth Affairs and Sports Department in the state government in 2007", Joshi, who is still Sikar District Cricket Association's senior functionary, said.
However, Centre had ignored the state government's recommendation for Padma award to Lalit Modi which was clubbed with international archer Limba Ram.
Limba Ram was decorated with Padma Shri in 2012. Opening another front against Raje on the issue, Rajasthan Congress today opened Rajasthan PCC President Sachin Pilot alleged that the former IPL chief "institutionalised" corruption in the state during the previous term of the Chief Minister.
"The latest revelation that the then state government led by Raje in 2007 had recommended Lalit Modi's name for Padma award has again substantiated close relations of Raje with Modi," Pilot said in a statement in reaction to media reports.
"Corruption was institutionalised during the earlier BJP regime and Lalit Modi played very important and crucial role in flourishing corruption," he alleged. Congress has demanded Raje's resignation, accusing her of helping Lalit Modi procure travel documents in the UK.